Monday, January 31, 2011

Pregnancy week 28

Now I am in the home stretch. There's not long to go now. The third trimester typically starts at week 29 and lasts until week 40 and sometimes even beyond. (42 weeks is the maximum! After that, a woman usually induced to give birth. Prayers I’m not going to be that hard, Amin.) Most women gain an average of 11 pounds / 5 kilograms during this trimester yet I am more now. You may see your doctor more often from now on but you don't have to wait for an appointment if you want to discuss anything - just ring.

By this week, my baby should weigh nearly 2.3 pounds / a little over 1 kilogram and may measure 14.8 inches / 38 centimetres from top to toe. But he is already 1.108 kilos last week; hope he’ll not be too BIG!! At about this time, the doctor said that the baby can open his eyes and turn his head in uterus if he notices a continuous, bright light shining from the outside. His fat layers are forming as he gets ready for life outside the womb and his fingernails appear as well as budding. I like the thought of interacting with my baby while he's still in the womb, thus I always talking, singing and reading to the baby - but don't worry if you feel uncomfortable - it's not for everyone.

As me, you're probably vacillating between two feelings: "I've been pregnant forever" and "Help, I'm not ready for this"; and being nervous about labour and birth. Don't worry; you're not the only one. Swapping experiences with other women in your antenatal class can be reassuring. Try to arrange a tour of your hospital's labour and delivery ward so you know what to expect. Your antenatal class may organise one or the hospital may have an open evening, so ring to check. You could also read some of our birth stories to help you prepare for the big day. For me, checking off things on my to-do list helps a lot. Start selecting possible baby names and begin thinking about life after the birth as well.

If you're a dad-to-be, you may be beginning to worry about having to watch your wife go through childbirth and wondering how helpful you'll be. Knowing the different stages of labour is a good place to start, go and read it up. Make sure you know what to expect if things don't go straightforwardly. Your baby needs help to be born so find out about assisted deliveries and caesarean section.

Planning to breastfeed? Here something I would like to share from my reading.

why breast is best

Breast milk is the best food for your baby. Ask any health professional, and they will respond that the healthiest way to feed an infant is to breastfeed him. Studies show that breastfeeding exclusively for at least three months may help prevent gastroenteritis (an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, involving both the stomach and the small intestine and resulting in acute diarrhoea. It can be transferred by contact with contaminated food and water. The inflammation is caused most often by an infection from certain viruses or less often by bacteria, their toxins, parasites, or an adverse reaction to something in the diet or medication) in babies. If you do so for at least four months, you may be able to lower your baby's risk of respiratory illness and catching ear infections.

Breast milk starts from colostrums (a form of milk produced by the mammary glands of mammals in late pregnancy. Most species will generate colostrums just prior to giving birth; containing antibodies to protect the newborn against disease, as well as being lower in fat and higher in protein than ordinary milk) is a complete food source; it contains all the nutrients your baby needs - at least 400 of them - including hormones and disease-fighting compounds absent in infant milk formula. Remarkably, its nutritional make-up even adjusts to your baby's needs as she grows and develops. And apart from the brain-building, infection-fighting benefits of mother's milk, which no formula can duplicate, breastfeeding can help to build a special bond between you and your baby. When you breastfeed, your child thrives on the skin-to-skin contact, the cuddling and the holding. You will, too.

Preparing for breastfeeding

You can't really prepare your nipples for the experience of breastfeeding, but you can, and should, prepare your mind. It helps to learn as much about breastfeeding as you can before your baby is born. Dads should learn as much as possible, too, so they can support and encourage their breastfeeding wives.

From the class I’ve attended, first and foremost, you have to have your own intention and let your mind in peace on the trial giving the baby breastfeed. You can’t stressed out and being too pushy to yourself as this will stop / discourage the production of milk by mammary gland. It’s all controlled in your mind and never thinks it as simple as ABC!!!

How should I prepare for breastfeeding?

Learn as much as you can about breastfeeding before your baby is born. Talk to other breastfeeding mothers, read books to familiarise yourself and contact local breastfeeding support organisations. Try to attend a breastfeeding class or preparation for breastfeeding session (offered by many hospitals as part of their antenatal classes) sometime during your last few months.

Whether you think about it or not, your pregnant body is preparing itself for breastfeeding. That's one reason your breasts get so much bigger during pregnancy -- your milk ducts and milk-producing cells are developing, and more blood goes to your breasts than before. But breast size has nothing to do with the ability to breastfeed successfully -- even if you stay small-breasted, that will not reduce your chances of being able to feed your baby yourself.

How to breastfeed

Since feeds can take anything from seven to 40 minutes, pick a comfortable place for breastfeeding. Atmosphere is very important, especially in the early days of breastfeeding when you're still trying to get the hang of it. If you are easily distracted and disrupted by noise, find somewhere quiet. If you are easily bored, you may want to feed in front of the television, but only if breastfeeding is going well for you and your baby. Try different spots until you find what works for you.

Hold your baby in a position that won't leave your arms and back sore. Add support around you with plenty of cushions. Many women find the cradle position works well, although it really depends on what is most comfortable for you. Get yourself and your baby in a relaxed position before you start feeding. Pay attention to how your breasts feel when your baby latches on. She / He should take in a big mouthful of breast tissue. If latching on hurts, break the suction - by inserting your little finger between your babies’s gums and your nipple - and try again. Once your baby latches on properly, she will be able to do the rest.

Problems you may encounter

Although women have breastfed their babies for centuries, it isn't always easy. Many women face difficulties in the early days. In the first six weeks, as your milk supply adjusts and your baby learns how to breastfeed, you may suffer from:

• Engorgement: overfull breasts;

• Mastitis: an inflammation of the breast;

• Sore nipples.

What you may be feeling

Some women adjust to breastfeeding easily, encountering no major hurdles. But many new mothers find it hard to learn - so if you're feeling discouraged, remember that you're not the only one. If you feel like giving up (or just want professional advice), contact a breastfeeding counsellor (most hospitals have them). You could also contact Ibu Family Resource Group, a volunteer organisation which hosts breastfeeding support groups in their Klang Valley HQ. The organisation may also be able to recommend groups in other parts of the country. Also, talk to your doctor about any health concerns that may impede successful breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding takes practice. Give yourself as much time as you need to get it down to a fine art. Take it a day, a week or even just a feed at a time. If you're having a bad feeding day, tell yourself that tomorrow will be better. And keep in mind that any problems you are having are likely to be temporary. By the time of your six-week check, you'll probably be breastfeeding without giving it a second thought. If not, don't hesitate to ask for support.

Breastfeeding in public

Although you may feel shy about breastfeeding in front of other people, it is becoming an increasingly common sight in urban Malaysia. Besides, you can't be expected to run home every time your baby needs to eat. Some tops are designed to allow you to breastfeed discreetly. Avoid shirts that you have to unbutton as they will make you feel very exposed - stretchy tops you can pull up work well. Draping a scarf, selendang or thin cloth blanket over your shoulder and chest as your baby feeds also helps you feed more discreetly in public (make sure your child is still able to breathe easily).

Most of the larger shopping centres built or renovated within the last five years have mother and baby rooms where you can sit comfortably and feed alongside others. Even if you don't have access to such facilities, most establishments will accommodate a nursing mother and hungry baby. Go ahead and ask for a discreet room or corner when you want to feed your baby. Soon, when breastfeeding becomes more familiar, you won't think twice about feeding your baby in public.

On the other hand, you may want to consider the fact that the Malaysian lifestyle can present some unique challenges to breastfeeding in public. For instance, if you are out at the hawker squares or 24-hour mamak stalls (never mind facilities, where can I find a clean toilet?!), it may be better to give your hungry baby a quick feed in your car (doors locked and engine running so you can run the air-con). Complete the feed once you are home.

What you need to buy

You will need to buy at least two breastfeeding bras. These provide the extra support that your larger-than-usual breasts need. They come with hooks or zips that you can easily undo when you need to feed. Ensure that they are properly fitted and that any flaps open completely. If only a small part of the breast is exposed, the bra may push against you and cause blocked ducts. You may want to wait until after you give birth to make this purchase, to make sure you get a bra that fits perfectly. Note that good quality maternity, breastfeeding or nursing bras are not fitted with underwire as the hard wires can cause blocked ducts.

Some mothers find that their breasts have a tendency to leak when they're lactating. Another baby's cry or the sight of an infant can stimulate milk flow, sometimes at inopportune moments. Make sure you have a good supply of breast pads. You can stock up on washable pads, or buy disposable ones.

Can I breastfeed after I go back to work?

Going back to work doesn't have to mean the end of breastfeeding. In fact, mothers who work outside the home are often able to feed their babies for as long as they want. You may want to express milk at work or breastfeed only when you are with your baby. Both are possible.

Do I need to toughen my nipples or do anything else beforehand?

The hormonal changes pregnancy brings to the breasts are sufficient preparation for most women. You don't need to use creams to soften your skin beforehand or express colostrums either. In particular, don't rub or scrub your nipples - this will only hurt you and make breastfeeding difficult.

The best preparation for breastfeeding is getting your husband and family to support you in your decision to breastfeed, so that you and your baby can get off to a good start. Research shows that you are more likely to breastfeed for longer if your husband is well-informed.

The other thing you can do to help breastfeeding is make sure that your obstetrician as well as the midwives and nurses who attend you during your baby's birth know that you would like plenty of skin-to-skin contact with your baby when he or she is born. Skin-to-skin contact has been shown to increase the length of time that women breastfeed for. Even if you need a caesarean birth, you can still hold your baby against your skin soon after the birth with some help from a nurse. Your baby may crawl to the breast and may feed, or he or she may only smell the breast, lick it or nuzzle it. All these things will help establish and promote breastfeeding.

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